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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kill the editor

This year, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again. Yesterday, I had a great meeting with my writing friend Kathy of Well Placed Words.

My main struggle in the first three days of NaNo--I know too much. By that I mean I know too much about writing. I was editing every word, sentence, paragraph. Which made writing terribly difficult.

So, here's a few suggestions to kill the editor:

1. Repeat often: it's a first draft, rewrites are for the second draft.
2. I can always remove it later.
3. If I don't write it down, I won't know what it says.
4. Sometimes I have to write the bad stuff before the good stuff.
5. Often I don't know what's good when I'm writing it.
6. I can't edit a blank page.
7. NaNo is to get me writing, not stop me writing.

Okay, readers, how do you kill the editor?

20 comments:

Cynthia said...

It's not easy to kill the editor--agreed! I think I am a fair editor to begin with so telling That One to sit down and shut up isn't easy. I don't think I've fully killed the editor--but I've gagged and bound her.

This is my first NaNoWriMo and I've vowed to finish my daily target of words (which is more than the average needed to make up for travel and other 'days off' later in the month) and then to walk away from it.

...I insert a time delay and do something else...for instance...

My next priority for each day is to spend some time reviewing my research material. Since I'm writing historical fiction, I have lots of little bits of information I want to use but don't have to hand in the flurry of "quantity not quality" output. These are things like dates, names of clothing and objects, street names, details of Victorian life--and so on. Often I type MR WHATHISNAME and yellow highlight it as I am writing.

Then, IF I HAVE STILL MORE TIME LATER, I permit myself to go back and look at some earlier part of what I've written and (a) fix some of the obvious errors that jump out on the read--but not edit other than that--and (b) fill in some of the blanks with specific words or terms or dates that popped up in my research reading...e.g., the name of the general who lost his arm in battle and had a sweater named after him, etc.

It's early days but, so far, it's working.

Enid Wilson said...

I try to write, write and write, without looking back at what I've typed up. Then it will keep the editor out.

My Darcy Mutates

Dave King said...

Exactly my experience, especially 2 - 5. I have to confess, though, that I often fall at hurdle number 1.

Jim Murdoch said...

I can’t. I simple do not write that way. I write in spurts. I write up until I get stuck or reach a natural stopping point and then the next time I pick the work up I go back a bit, sometimes even to the beginning of the book, and reread it again up until the point where I stopped so that I have the complete flow and then I do what feels natural at that point. This is one of the reasons I’m such a slow writer because as I’m rereading I edit. My wife did NaNoWriMo one year but I’m not. I’m aiming for a mere 5000 words by the end of the year. I'll be jumping for joy if I can find out how my book ends.

Conda V. Douglas said...

My goodness, Cynthia--I'd forgotten how determined and organized you are--and how good at getting it DONE. You go girl!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Enid, I know some people who turn off the computer screen for that very reason.

Talli Roland said...

It's so hard, isn't it? I just force myself forward and tell myself I can fix it later!

Good luck with NaNo!

Carol Kilgore said...

It is difficult. But keep going, no matter what. When it's really bad, trust that you will definitely recognize it on the next draft and fix it then. If that doesn't work, give the editor a glass or two of wine :)

Conda V. Douglas said...

Dave, me too, sigh.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Jim, part of the reason I'm doing NaNo is to up my productivity--and my attention to one thing--I'm very ADD!

But we're all different and 5000 excellent words is better than 50,000 awful ones...

Conda V. Douglas said...

Talli--yes, fix it LATER. And thanks!

Judith van Praag said...

Conda! Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment with the post on NaNo YAY or NAY sayers. We bloggers love comments, don't we?

Woke up thinking about the little devil who's usually sitting on my shoulder when I do my serious creative writing i.e. work on multiple memoirs.
He's never there when I work on assignment, only when I delve in the memory bank that's the source for that personal work.
During the first NaNo week he wasn't around at all (I AM writing a novel, not a memoir now) but for some reason those little horns popped up, I could sense his presence.
Why hadn't he been there the previous 6 days I wondered. I was writing too fast, not allowing my mind to wander, no musing over the predicament of my characters, but racing the clock while getting the intent of a scene down on the computer screen. I was so fast and so focused, he couldn't get a word in sideways!
Is there a lesson to be had??

Conda V. Douglas said...

Carol--trouble with the editor having two glasses of wine is then the writer goes to sleep!

Conda V. Douglas said...

Judith, thank you for the sage story--yes, yes, there is a lesson there! Write fast and don't listen.

Great blog you have, BTW.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Excellent suggestions, Conda! Good luck. ;-)

Conda V. Douglas said...

Thanks, Shannon!

Ann Best said...

It just isn't easy to kill the editor! I guess all one can do is plunge in and write, write, write, hoping the censor will retire!!!

Thanks for stopping by and re-following on my "new" blog.
Ann

Conda V. Douglas said...

Ann, so true, so true--and it took me a while to find your blog again--I'm not a techie!

June Calender said...

I don't have to kill the editor until about the 20th draft. I have never edited the raw writing. We all work differently and my way has always been to spill the whole thing and then edit ... and edit .. and edit and never really stop editing unless someone sits on me or there is a true deadline.

Conda V. Douglas said...

June, good point, we all have different styles--mine is, unfortunately, to sometimes allow the editor to stop my writing, sigh.